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Researchers Reveal The Top Adjectives For Men & Women After Studying 3.5M Books
By Mikelle Leow, 08 Oct 2019
Image via Shutterstock
If you’re a book lover, chances are you’ll already be able to guess the traits of certain characters even before they have been properly introduced. That’s probably because there are a number of common descriptors shared between reading materials.
In a study published via the World Economic Forum, researchers from the University of Copenhagen used a new computer model to analyze 3.5 million books. The literature studied were all published in English, published between 1900 and 2008, and featured a mix of fiction and non-fiction content.
What’s concerning, though unsurprising, is that female characters are more likely to be associated with looks-based adjectives like “beautiful,” “sexy,” and “gorgeous.”
“Thus, we have been able to confirm a widespread perception, only now at a statistical level,” explains computer scientist and assistant professor Isabelle Augenstein.
In addition, the team extracted descriptors and verbs together with gender-specific nouns like “daughter” and “stewardess”—such as “sexy stewardess” and “girls gossiping”—learning that negative verbs describing appearances are five times more apparent for females.
The researchers relate that looks-based adjectives that are positive or neutral are used on females twice as often as male figures.
In contrast, male characters are more often described with behavioral traits or personal qualities.
You can read the full study here.
Massive Machine Learning Study Demonstrates Gender Stereotyping And Sexist Language In Literature from
[via Boing Boing, images via various sources]
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